A Natural Resource Economist, Professor Wisdom Akpalu, has blamed some politicians for the country’s depleting fish stock by trawlers mostly owned by foreigners.
The professor, who is alarmed by the fact that only one of the 76 fishing trawlers operating in Ghana’s waters, is wholly Ghanaian-owned, said many powerful politicians are behind the Ghanaians who are fronting for the Chinese.
As a result, such politicians prevent the law from cracking the whip on these trawlers, who are carrying out a lot of prohibited fishing practices.
[contextly_sidebar id=”4mtuVMwfRXJHqxaoxZYfKrsPO4F233Pl”]Professor Akpalu, who doubles as the President of the African Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, said the trend can only be reversed if political influences are eliminated from the supply chain.
“This situation has existed for long and it is very difficult to stop because there are powerful politicians behind it and they make it impossible for institutions that are to check these things to do their work.”
‘There is the need for us to have a strong political will because those who are supposed to stop it are perhaps benefiting from these men. We know that the vessels are supposed to be owned by Ghanaians and even if they go into a hire-purchase agreements with the foreigners; the Ghanaian should be able to fully own the vessel by the end of five years. Why is that they keep writing the agreement, so that the Ghanaian never gets to own the vessel?”, he quizzed.
Ghana risks losing fish stock to depletion by Chinese-owned trawlers – Prof. Akpalu
Prof. Wisdom Akpalu has also warned that Ghana is on the verge of losing its fish stock to China.
“When we have foreign vessels fishing in our waters, they don’t care about the sustainability of the resource. Every renewable resource is supposed to be extracted in a way that, the rate at which the resource is extracted does not exceed the rate at which the resource is replenished. It is in the interest of these foreigners to extract as much as possible which will lead to a decline in the stock. In addition to this, they engage in illegal activities such as landing species and [other aquatic life] that they are not supposed to catch.”
When asked how the age-old problem could be solved, the natural resource economist called for a strict law enforcement regime to sustain the country’s fish stock and prevent what could lead to massive job losses.
“This is a serious and very worrying situation. It appears not much has been done over the years but I think it is about time some form of serious action is taken. We need to enforce the law and make things happen so that those who are behind this feel ashamed of themselves. If we lose the stock, so many people will lose their jobs,” he stressed.
Prof. Akpalu in a recent lecture revealed that out of the 76 fishing trawlers operating in the country, only one of them is Ghanaian-owned, with the remaining trawlers belonging to Chinese nationals who have Ghanaians fronting for them.
Data collected in the last 23 years also shows that, Ghana’s fish stock has declined. Although, the country also imports over 59 percent of the total amount of fish it consumes, the consumption level per person per annum is about 21-23kg; which is below the recommended 40kg by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
By: Nii Larte Lartey & Akosua Ofeiwaa Opoku | citinewsroom.com |Ghana | [email protected]